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Charities and non-profits collecting donations online can improve UX to maximise their potential for supporting important causes.
Studies show that more people in are donating to charity, and more people are doing it online and from mobiles. However, the cost of living crisis has caused many to cut back on outgoing expenses, including charity donations.
People who want to donate to charity will also want it made as easy and flexible as possible. And charities are going to have to work that extra bit harder to make a case for people to donate to their causes.
For charities and non-profits who collect donations online, it’s important to streamline user experience and build functionalities into your website thoughtfully to maximise the potential to gain support for causes and people in need.
Need some inspiration to get you going? Here are a few of our favourite examples of charities with donation pages that combine functionality, creativity and strong messaging.
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For many potential donors, personal experience leads them to seek out ways to support a cause.
The donation page on the Cancer Research UK website gives visitors the option to choose whether their donation is allocated to the area with the greatest need, or to a specific type of cancer or research area.
It also offers a flexibility around the frequency and amount of recurring donations, removing a possible blocker for people who care about your cause but don’t have a stable income, or people whose financial circumstances have changed.
A 2021 survey found that almost two-thirds (64%) of regular charity donors want the ability to adapt their monthly donation amount and the date it is taken on according to their circumstances each month.
Nearly half (42%) said they would give more over a period of time than they would if they only had the option of fixed donation amounts.
The Cancer Research UK page also offers users the option to select a reason for donating, which serves several purposes.
It’s a way to engage with potential donors about a cause close to their hearts, and it also allows the charity to get a clearer picture of what types of experiences motivate people to donate so they can tailor their messaging accordingly.
Transparency and trust are key considerations for people thinking about donating to charities.
Donors want to know where their money is being spent and how it’s making the world a better place. 68% of donors say that knowing how their money is helping a cause is important to them.
Mind, a UK-based mental health charity, has a landing page that provides concrete examples of what their donations have helped them achieve in terms of providing services to people experiencing mental health issues.
They are transparent about the percentage of donations that are spent directly on charity work. Their donation link takes users to a payment portal that displays its security credentials to further establish trust for potential donors with concerns about security of online donations.
Nearly all website users (94%) say that navigation is the most important feature on a website. If visitors to your website have trouble finding the donation link, or find the payment process too complex or time-consuming, it may put them off donating — even if they believe in your cause.
The Alzheimer’s UK website is an example of a site that minimises the amount of clicks required to complete a donation by including all the relevant information on their landing page.
The UK’s Gift Aid scheme, which allows charities to claim 25p on tax for every £1 donated, can provide an extra incentive for potential donors who want their donation to go further but may not be able to afford a higher amount.
The Alzheimer’s UK site’s payment page features prominent messaging about Gift Aid. By displaying the text ‘Turn your £20 donation into £25!’ on the page, they have done the hard work of calculating the added value for a donor.
Chances are your existing site could be working harder for you. With the right guidance, you can invest in your website intelligently to enhance performance and raise more funds.
Charities and non-profits must abide by strict regulations around transparency of how their donations are used. However, there is still a large percentage of the public with a high level of distrust for charities.
While visitors to a charity’s website can be at the point in their journey where they are open to new information, they may still have lingering doubts. This is why building trust through your website’s design is crucial for converting visitors into supporters.
One way to do this is by being clear about hidden costs such as admin fees. The NSPCC website gives visitors the option of adding an additional 2% to their donations to cover the admin fees charged on transactions by their payment provider.
The site also has a streamlined donation process that does not ask for personal details until after card details have been requested, reducing the number of clicks required to make a donation.
Being transparent about every single fee, no matter how minor, will make visitors to your site more likely to view your organisation as a trusted source and be more open to your messaging.
The average web user spends about 15 seconds on a page, which means that your landing page needs to hit the right notes in a way that encourages people to dig deeper into your cause.
Your homepage should be visually engaging and user-friendly, with a responsive design and a strong, clearly-communicated call-to-action.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) website incorporates all of these elements. Their homepage combines a sleek user interface with a combination of compelling imagery and animation of a beating heart that also functions as easy navigation back to the homepage from any part of the website.
The donation page combines a personal story with a streamlined donation process that breaks down every step, so donors know exactly how much time they’re committing to the process and what details they will need.
Like the Cancer Research UK page, the BHF donation process begins by asking about the motivation for the donation. The online form also offers the option to go back and edit details easily once a user has proceeded to a later page.
The process of waiting for pages to load can be a source of frustration, but the BHF website displays an animated red line designed to mimic a heart rate monitor that adds a fun, unexpected moment of entertainment to make the waiting time not just bearable, but engaging.
The Macmillan website is a great example of the power of simplicity, with a minimal number of clicks required to explain the donation process.
Their donations landing page contains details of different donation options (single, recurring or donating on behalf of a group or organisation).
Like the BHF website, it offers a visual breakdown of the entire 3-step checkout process, minimising the cognitive load required for a user to complete the process.
The site’s postcode lookup feature further streamlines the process of adding address details. This solves what can often be a source of frustration when online forms fail to provide flexibility for different address formats. A feature like this will likely result in higher conversion rates.
Building and maintaining people’s trust is important for all charities. In Amnesty International’s case, trust is a key part of their mission to hold institutions to account and stand up for those whose human rights are violated or under threat.
The Amnesty website builds this trust by displaying their Fundraising Regulator trust marks just below the ‘Donate’ button.
Striking the right balance between creating urgency about a cause and putting off potential supporters with images they might find upsetting is crucial for nonprofits hoping to inspire action.
The images used on Amnesty’s website are centred on its activism, featuring individuals and groups standing up for various rights across the world. Their calls-to-action are hinged on the idea that you, as a user of their website, could be part of their global movement.
Their donation page features a text box above the ‘Donate’ button outlining exactly what each donation amount will help them achieve, providing further transparency and reassurance.
Whether your non-profit is building a new website or updating an existing one, there are a few things that all the most effective charity websites have in common.
These are the questions you want to ask yourself when considering how you can build a site that will optimise your conversion rate and inspire action towards your cause:
Wherever you’re at in the journey, we can meet you there. Our Always Evolving® model powers long-term collaboration, strategy and delivery to achieve your organisational goals through your website.
We can run accessibility audits, refresh your site design to provide a more seamless user experience, test out new strategies and put the most successful combinations into action by our expert developers.
Get in touch with us to find out how your website can work harder for you.
Writer & Creative
Tuesday 20th December 2022